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Oracle report finds utilities aren't utilizing data from smart grid

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, July 10, 2012

North American utilities that have installed intelligent electronic devices across their network may be collecting untold amounts of data from the devices - about 18,000 percent more data, to be exact - but many aren't properly using this information, a new report from Oracle suggests.

The report surveyed 151 North American utility executives, and found there was a large gap between the amount of data the companies were collecting and how they were putting that data to use. For example, although 78 percent of respondents said their utilities were gathering data on outages from their IEDs, only 59 percent were using it to improve their business processes and decision making.

The report noted similar responses in the amount of voltage data that was being collected and the amount of utilities that were using it, at 73 percent and 57 percent, respectively, while 63 percent were collecting tamper detection data and only 47 percent were using it. Another 56 percent said they were collecting diagnostic data, however only 33 percent said they were using it.

According to Greentech, this gap between the amount of data being collected and the number of utilities putting it to use can be traced back to a number of causes. Most importantly, it highlights the highly varied state of smart grid technology deployments. The survey found about 22 percent of respondents have deployed such technologies to fewer than one-quarter of their customers, which includes utilities that have not grown past the pilot phase of their projects. Still, 65 percent of respondents said they have installed some form of smart grid technologies.

"Smart grid deployments are creating exponentially more data for utilities and giving them access to information they have never had before. Oracle's 'Big Data, Bigger Opportunities' report indicates that a vast majority of utility executives are working to enhance their ability to glean real intelligence from smart grid data ... Utilities can benefit from establishing enterprise information strategies, and investing in the systems and people needed to make better business decisions," said Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Utilities.

SUBNET has developed a number of products and solutions that help utilities collect, organize and assess huge amounts of data from a wide range of disparate IEDs. The company's Unified Grid Intelligence philosophy allows utilities to access data from any device over any mode of communication to be used on any business platform. 

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